The Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team lost its Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC) bronze medal game 31-22 against the Queen’s University Gaels on Sunday morning, which concluded the team’s 2019-20 season.
The Stingers never managed to be in control of the game, as the Gaels took an early lead in the first half and never looked back.
Stingers head coach Craig Beemer said he wishes his players left the field with a better result after the effort they put and the season they had.
“I’m definitely not a participation guy,” Beemer said. “Our goal was the medal, so we didn’t meet our goal. I think you saw on Friday night, as well as in today’s second half, we have earned the right to have a medal, but it just didn’t happen for us today.”
Despite being a unique and great experience for the teams, the CUMRC still has challenges. Beemer said it was tough to go from one game a week, like the team is used to during its regular Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season, to three games in five days.
That’s where you see the blood, sweat and tears,” Beemer said. “These guys put in so many hours as student-athletes. When the coaching staff and I ask them to do things, I think that’s the toughest part [since they already put in so much time and always give their best effort].”
The Stingers gained some momentum late in the second half, scoring two consecutive tries for the first time of the game. Unfortunately for them, time ran out shortly thereafter. Beemer said having good starts is essential in a tournament like this one, and gave credit to the Gaels for their performance.
“Hats off to the Gaels,” said Beemer. “They played really well, and scored tries when they needed to. Our defence put theirs under a lot of pressure, but they responded really well. They were the better team today.”
Hooker Michael Laplaine-Pereira, who scored the Stingers’s consecutive tries in the second half and was named the Stingers most valuable player of the game, said despite the loss, the team is still happy with their season.
“We developed strong connections between the boys,” Laplaine-Pereira said. “It’s a life experience. We knew it would end at some point this week, and had to give everything we had today. We put everything we did this whole season on the line.”
Laplaine-Pereira said in events like that, where teams face injuries and challenges, the most important thing is to remain in good spirits.
“We’re not just leaving with a loss today,” Laplaine-Pereira said. “We’re leaving with a family, and connections that will stay for a long time.”
The Stingers officially conclude the CUMRC in fourth place, the same position they finished last year when they lost to the University of Victoria Vikes in the bronze medal game.
Feature photo by Laurence B.D.